Semester

Fall

Date of Graduation

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

MA

College

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Department

History

Committtee Chair

Robert Blobaum

Committee Co-Chair

Katherine Aaslestad

Committee Member

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf

Abstract

After the break-up of the Soviet Empire a newborn Republic of Moldova faced a series of challenges, one of which was creating the political and economic foundations that would allow it to become the sustainable European country. It proved to be an extremely difficult task. Indeed, at the beginning of the 1990's Moldova was widely known as the poorest and the least economically stable country on the old continent. During the first years of independence the Moldovan leaders realized that the greatest challenge would be to limit Russian influences on the domestic and foreign policy of the country. Since the Russian Federation, the principal successor state of the Soviet Union, considered Moldova to be of the highest strategic importance it wanted to ensure that Moldova would remain under the Russian sphere of vital interests. Unfortunately for Moldova it also meant that Kremlin wanted it to remain impoverished and divided, and thus, easier to control. Support for the self-proclaimed Dniestrian Moldovan Republic became one of the effective tools of Moscow in pursuing its own vision of Kishinev's position on the European scene.;The current study presents the Russian foreign policy strategy toward the Republic of Moldova after the collapse of the Soviet Union and shows how the weak and small country had to struggle with outside influences on its domestic affairs. It also argues that it has been in Russia's best interests to maintain the current Moldovan status quo in order to be able to prevent it from strengthening cooperation with Western players, particularly NATO and the EU. The study examines in detail the various mechanisms of Russian foreign policy that were aimed at balancing the Western influences in Moldova. Finally it argues that for over the past twenty years the Kremlin has not hesitated to use blackmail, especially on trade issues, which has significantly inhibited the Moldovan process of transformation into a democratic and sustainable state.

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